Nov. 5 is only about a month away—how are you feeling?
I’m excited, I’m nervous. I just did 12 miles two days ago, but I’m still nervous. You never know what can happen. I’ve never done 27 miles, so I think it’s definitely going to be a challenge. I love challenges and not only am I raising awareness and funds for Change for Kids and the National Kidney Foundation, but it’s also a personal challenge for me. Growing up, I was always a non-gym type of dude. I never did anything physical. I was never active And one day I got up and said, ‘Man I want to be fit, I want to be strong, I want to eat healthy.’ So I started hitting the gym three, four years ago. I started getting fit and becoming aware of my own strengths and weaknesses. Now, I hike, go to the gym, play basketball—a lot of has changed since I left New York.
Why the New York City Marathon?
I’m from New York. I used to live on 140th Street and 3rd Avenue and I would always watch the marathon from my window, and I never thought I’d be running the marathon. I’m excited to live that experience, to see all five boroughs, and to be able to run through where I used to live. It’s a challenge and it’ll show myself and everyone that anything is possible when you set your mind to it. I want to push myself to the limit and hopefully get to the end.
Why did you decide to run for charity?
These two charities are important to me on a personal level. National Kidney Foundation—my family has suffered from kidney failures and problems for a long time. My grandfather died from it, and I think this is something people aren’t really aware of. There are so many families that go through dialysis, that have to go through transplants, and still have complications. There are so many people who struggle with it, just like how my family has struggled with it. I have several relatives that have gone through dialysis, still go through dialysis, and have gone through transplants, so it’s very personal to me.
The other foundation I’m running for is Change for Kids, which helps underprivileged kids in New York City. Growing up in New York, I went to public school. I was lucky because I went to a school called Bronx Academy of Letters, which is a very small public school that worked like a private school, because you had relationships with the principal and teachers. My older brother went to a big high school, where he didn’t know the principal and no one paid attention, and you could get into a lot of trouble. Education is very important. There are so many kids in New York that may struggle because of the financial situation they’re in or the neighborhood they live in. It’s very difficult growing up in the hood to have the mentality of getting out, to stay positive. We have to start with the youth, the kids, and inspire and motivate them to be great. You can donate to either or both of the foundations at Crowdrise.com/princeroycerunsnyc.
What’s the most surprising thing you learned from training for the marathon?
I’ve lifted in the last three, four years. But since I started training, my level of respect for runners has changed so much. It’s physical, it’s mental, and after 10 miles, you start feeling things you’ve never felt before. It’s not only working your legs, but a lot of it is your mind, too, because you feel like giving up. And you have to work out so many different muscles, you have to work your pace, pay attention to your heart rate, which means sprinting—it’s a lot of work.
And how do you juggle it with being on tour?
It’s hard work, but especially challenging because I’m on tour. I have to stay strict about running X amount of miles and I have to stay on top of the training, while keeping up with the music and doing studio time. I’m just physically tired some days, but it’s fun. It’s a great experience. I’ll also be doing a few half marathons in between. We’re still a little far out, but not that far—I’m starting to feel the pressure now.
What’s on your running playlist?
A lot of hip hop, a lot of Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West. I have a lot of different playlists. The one that hypes me up a lot is Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA.” I listen to a lot of uptempo jams and a lot of rap and hip hop.
Are you ever inspired during your runs, musically?
Sometimes I have random playlists, and I discover new music that way. Sometimes I put on a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music or I have running apps with playlists, and I actually discover a lot of music on my run. When I hear a song, I think, ‘Oh, that’s cool, I can do that with my music.’ A lot of discovery happens when I’m running.
Has there been anything in your career so far that’s comparable to this marathon?
Not at the moment, but I’m sure there will be more things I’ll be doing. I have so many things I love to try out before the end of my career, so hopefully, I’ll do more.
Any advice to new runners?
You have to really stay at it. Run often. Everyone has those days where they don’t feel like it, they don’t feel as strong, but just stay in the game. Some days you’re faster than others, some days you’re going to feel great and energetic—it’s all about sticking to it.